I could use some guidance

Oh masters of the CNC. I could use some guidance on how to move forward with my project. It is probably more advanced than I am ready for but I am taking a crack at it.

Here is the picture of what I am trying to carve:

I was hoping to surprise the unit with it. We have a vinyl version but I would like to see if I can cut one out of wood since I took all of this time to build a CNC. I have a pre-glued 24/36 by 1 inch pine board from Lowes and I want to paint it if I can ever figure out the carve. I am thinking that it would look pretty good if I could do a 2.5D carve with the aircraft, lettering around the edge and cross at 1. and then various depths for the mountain and planet in the background.

My steps up until now:
Vectorize the entire picture… I wasn’t able to manipulate individual portions of the design to get what I am looking for

Dissemble the picture and vectorize each piece and hopefully put it back together in easel. I have already wasted too many hours and my results arent much better than trying to vectorize the whole thing.

I tried using inkscape to do the vectors using Phil’s write-up on his site. Either I have a different version of inkscape with different menu options or I am one of the below average students.

I have been using the vectorizer website to get my SVG.

I currently have inkscape and easel. I am eventually planning on getting V-carve desktop but I was planning on waiting a bit. I can be convinced of jumping forward with the purchase if it will make my life easier.

Here are the various files that I have mangled in Easel: http://easel.inventables.com/projects/rO7FbXZAq2NNsjZSvoKZQA

Any ideas on what the best way forward would be for this?

I’m not sure if this will work, or if it’s what you are after, but what if you import the svg into Easel, then use the exploder app?

Thanks for the tip. I tried using the exploder app, but too many pieces are still connected. The depth of the cross is still tied to the depth of the inner ring even aver “exlosion”

Thanks Phil! I just found an instructable that walks through the inkscape break apart process. I will give it a shot.

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Ok, back for more on this one. I finally managed to get the SVG where I wanted and I tried to carve it today. I started with the detail bit and it was going very well… Until it wasn’t…

I was cleaning up my garage and turned around to this. Trying to salvage it and to watch more closely, I flipped the material and tried again. It went off the rails, but a few minutes earlier this time.

I am cutting pre glued pine board and my feed rates are 50in /min, plunge 20/min, .06 per pass on a 60 V bit.

These are the default feed rates for easel, are they too aggressive or should I be looking for something mechanical.

I’m going to get this thing down eventually

It really looks like you are losing steps in your x axis.

Check for Loose belts, loose pulley set screws, low driver amperage, something stopping vwheels, binding in x axis carriage. Definitely a lot that could cause this type of behavior.

Brings back memories. We’ve all been here.

  1. Good for you for taking on what seems to be too hard. I believe this is how to learn.

  2. These things happen. I have many “scrap” do overs. But I always seem to learn something. I have made an informal check list due to all my mishaps and something new still pops up from time to time

  3. Definitely go through the mechanics of the machine. Belts pullies ( the set screws in the pullies). Ect… go through every screw and bolt. Building your own machine has this advantage that you will know every nut and bolt. Also check computer problems or possible drawing design issues. Sometimes a file could be too large. Or a part of the drawing have a wierd offest tool path etc. Although yours looks like it should work.

  4. Do you have dust collection? I use to have wood chips jam the belts. Now I have dust collection.

  5. Software. I have only used v carve desktop. So I cant speak as to the use of others. But from what I have read on here. I am glad I got it. When you get it you will be glad but take the time to learn it. ( node editing, layers. Etc…)

Cant wait to see the final result. Never give up. You will surprise yourself


I really appreciate the comments and they have motivated me to get back at it. I have been traveling for the past few weeks and today was the first time that I have been able to give a thorough inspection. I found that one of the screws holding my drive screw backed itself out. I have applied some loctite and reinstalled.

Dust collection is in the works, but I need to figure out the best way to implement since I have my frankenstein machine.

I have purchased another board and I am going to give it another go in the next few days. I will make sure to post my results.

Here was where the backed out screw was located.

So I have it another crack today and the same results.

I adjusted the feed rate and flipped it over.

After another inspection and a re calibration of my Z axis I threw on a piece of MDF to see if it would work. It blew past the failure zone that hung me up the past 4 attempts and went for a good 2 hours before it decided to go off and do its own thing.

I have no clue as to a next step. I suppose I will make my cuts more shallow and see if I can get through some more MDF. If I ever get to a victory I will post a photo.

If you’ve checked everything listed above, did you calibrate and set the pots? If not, my guess would be that’s your issue.

So, I have re calibrated and leveled the bed. I was sure that was the issue as I was cutting deeper on the right side. I threw some MDF on it and started cutting.

Right about at the same spot it started carving wherever it wanted to. At least it was cutting more uniform across the board.

I have been over this mechanically a few times and I am using conservative cutting speeds. I ls there a possibility that there is an electrical issue? Could these unshielded wires be an issue, or maybe I’m getting some noise because my router power cable is going through the chain?

This is really beginning to look like an electrical issue. Some sort of interference or signal loss is causing it to lose steps.

check all of the connections, as well as all of the pins in the connections.

@GonzoNerd what kind of machine are you working with? What controller are you using?

Zach, it is a workbee CNC, basically a screw driven OX. It is powered by an X controller using easel. I will take a look at the electrical connections.

Ok, I turned the juice up on the pots and I flipped the MDF for another go. Let’s see what happens, wish me luck.

BrianJohnson is the smartest man in the world! The pots needed to be turned up. I will finish cutting it out tomorrow but the carve is completed.

Thanks for the help. I will post another pic after paint.


@PhilJohnson they are matched to the X-Carve set up but he is using an Ox so it makes sense to me that he would need to adjust them.

@GonzoNerd that looks great I’m glad you figured it out.

Thanks for the help everyone. I unscientifically felt the motors throughout the carve to see if they were overheating and they were barely warm to the touch.

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Gotcha…I misread your post.

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